Chicago Considers Domestic Partner Registry

Wed. June 18, 2003 12:00 AM by

Chicago, IL - Cook County is considering the establishment of a domestic partner registry. An ordinance to create the registry was proposed yesterday.

If passed it would allow gay and lesbian couples to register their unions with the county government and receive a certificate of partnership.

Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) has 11 of the county board's 17 members signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors.

The certificates could help couples secure health insurance or other benefits that many companies offer domestic partners.

Couples would pay 30 dollars to register, but officials say it would not be a marriage license..

"The intangible benefit is the value to those who would use it to show that their relationship matters and they want to show that commitment to the world," Quigley said.

"It doesn't change anything in Probate Court or state law," Quigley said. "But it's evidence a relationship existed. Right now, [under] the state visitation act in hospitals, a third cousin has a higher relationship than someone in a relationship for years. Something like this we think would help the state move forward on changing state law."

Under the ordinance, same-sex couples would file an affidavit that they are 18 years or older; competent to enter into a contract; share a household; and are loyal to only each other.

Deputy Clerk Brandon Neese said his office could get the program up and running with no additional staff or resources.

"We're ready to implement it," Neese said. "We'll have to create an application form and have a database."

Republicans and conservative Christian groups denounced the plan as giving special treatment to gays and lesbians and vowed to fight the idea..

Counties in Florida, Texas and California have registries, as do the cities of Oak Park and San Francisco.

by Steph Smith Newscenter
Chicago Bureau
©® 2003

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.